Amazon wants customers to open homes to deliveries

Posted October 27, 2017

So, just to be clear: Amazon Key creates the dual (albeit uncommon) possibilities that you will hurt your delivery person and that your delivery person will hurt you.

The courier will then have to swipe their phone's screen to unlock the door, deliver the package, and finally relock the door with another swipe. And you can create all sort of scenarios in your head where someone can take advantage of this, probably from all the movies, TV shows and real-life incidents we've seen. If you're at all hesitant to buy something from Amazon, because you think your package could be stolen from your doorstep once it is delivered, then Amazon risks not making money.

Anticipating that concern, Amazon says customers will be notified each time someone enters their home by an app, able to see a video recording that has night vision and two-way audio. Amazon emphasizes that its workers are not allowed to enter a home.

It's unclear how Amazon might handle a rogue service provider. It will allow delivery drivers to access customer's houses to drop off packages through the use of a smart lock and accompanying security camera.

The company Wednesday introduced Amazon Key, a program for Amazon Prime members that, when linked to an internet-connected door lock, grants entry to delivery people or other authorized folks.

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Amazon envisions the new service will extend beyond deliveries and into other home services. Using the Amazon Key app, customers stay in control and can track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete. The entire process is done without a key or code - and the entire delivery is recorded on a camera that uploads to the cloud. If your plans change, you can select "Block Access" up until the delivery time and the driver will follow a standard delivery procedure for your address. Whether it is through free two-day shipping, same-day shipping, or the use of lockers in stores and buildings, there are many ways Prime customers can receive their orders. After the request is authenticated, the Cloud Cam starts recording the delivery and the door is unlocked.

The whole system starts up when you make a purchase or place an order on Amazon and, at checkout, you choose "FREE in-home delivery".

And this is Amazon's biggest obstacle in widespread adoption to Key - people just aren't all that trusting of big companies at the moment. Customers' packages will be dropped inside not left out on the porch or front door. The ability to unlock your door is only being granted to Amazon delivery drivers, and only if they are now carrying a package that's slated for delivery to your house that day.

Those simply wanting to let in friends or other guests will also have that option.